Revealed: RAC Approved Cars Scam?
Can you trust the RAC BuySure Scheme?
It’s one of my bad habits and my wife does complain.
To me, cars are a little addictive and I spend a lot of free time surfing the internet checking out used car prices, warranties and finance packages that are new on the market.
During one of my surfing sessions I came across a dealer known as Car Base. I visited their site because earlier that day I’d heard an ad of theirs on the local radio promoting the fact that they’ve joined the RAC’s Sure Buy Initiative.
RAC Approved Garages ?
If you’re wondering what their initiative is I found an excerpt from the RAC’s press release department, regarding the Car Base certification.
Here’s the official quote:
Carbase has committed to an 82-point RAC Approved Preparation Standard on every vehicle, a minimum of three months’ RAC Warranty cover, three months of complimentary RAC Roadside Breakdown cover and enrolment to RAC Accident Management Service in support of its customers in the event of an accident.
So, does this mean the RAC have carried out their own 82-point check on every used vehicle that Car Base sell?
The 82 point check is, for the most part, a lure to build trust and authority. It’s nothing more than a check that the RAC set out as a minimum standard that “the dealer” and I repeat, “the dealer” must carry out themselves.
Here is a direct quote from the RAC website and it reads:
The RAC Approved Preparation Standard is a standard set by the RAC to ensure a consistent minimum level of vehicle preparation by all Approved dealers as part of the RAC BuySure programme.
This basically means that the RAC are dictating a standard and Car Base are agreeing to set that standard on “some” of their cars.
It does not mean the RAC carry out a vehicle inspection and there’s no guarantee (and in fact it’s quite unlikely) that the RAC will ever even clamp eyes on the car before you buy it.
In fact, the RAC perform just 6 RAC Approved Dealers audits a year, that’s it! No inspection, no 82 point check carried out by an RAC technician.
Source: The RAC
I’m not in the habit of putting down businesses that are ultimately trying to make money and offer an exceptional service. The RAC is certainly a reputable name and Car Base appear to be doing what they can to help prospects to feel a sense of ease when buying a used car.
I do however challenge Car Base and the RAC regarding a misleading proposition. It lends to the idea that their cars undergo a vehicle inspection that somehow makes them superior to those the wider market are offering.
They do not.
The RAC BuySure Approved Car
Only Car Base knows how much time is invested into their cars before they go on the market to the public. Not you, not me and not the RAC.
I decided to contact Car Base and do a bit more digging.
As I was surfing later in the evening I used the Car Base “live chat” system to find out more about their relationship with the RAC and exactly what’s on offer.
Here’s the conversation:
Notice how the salesman captured my contact details? Not so versed in the RAC BuySure initiative, but well trained in sales and lead capture!
Anyway, here’s the email sent the following day:
I decided to not respond to Jason’s email. I was a little disappointed with his response too. Little effort was put into helping with my enquiry. He mostly wanted to talk to me on the phone and discuss which car I was interested in. It is from that position that he can begin to convince me and overcome my objections. I’d rather not.
However, he did send me a copy of the “RAC check list” that Car Base allegedly carry out on used vehicles they plan to sell.
Here’s a copy of that report, for your pleasure:
Have you taken a look?
You’ll notice there are some worrying aspects that I’d like to highlight:
Section 3 part 5: “Ensure all structural body repairs/accidents damage have been repaired using manufacturers approved methods”
Yes, just like every other dealer around the country that’s NOT part of the “RAC BuySure” – some of the cars they sell have had accidents.
Section 3 part 6: “Ensure correct body panel fitting and alignment”
I accept that some cars have had accidents and been repaired. I also know that sometimes, if the accident wasn’t too significant, the car may still serve you well and be reliable.
But does the RAC BuySure 82 point check (that’s not been carried out by the RAC but in fact, by the dealer selling the car) really give you peace of mind? Especially when you know, by their own admission, that some cars undergoing the check will have been involved in accidents?
I will leave that decision up to you, the buyer.
The reason that RAC approved cars from RAC approved garages want to affiliate themselves with organisations like the RAC is because it builds trust and sells more cars. It’s more of a branding exercise than an exceptional customer satisfaction experience. So, don’t be fooled into thinking you are better off buying with an RAC Suredrive check because I don’t believe you are.
Like most of the other used car dealers around the country Car Base buy most of their cars from car auctions Like Manheim and BCA (British Car Auctions.) They clean them up, carry out essential repairs to bodywork, trim, mechanical and sell the car on for a profit.
I’ve no problem with their method of buying but you shouldn’t be fooled into thinking they are an exceptional dealer just because of an affiliation with a well-known organisation, like the RAC.
The surest way to buy a used that’s reliable, genuine and good value for your money is to arm yourself with the knowledge to do it yourself. I have a dedicated Used Car Buying Guide and mini video series that outlines the exact steps to buying a used car without getting ripped off. Alternatively, buy a car inspection from a reputable provider such as ClickMechanic, AA or even the RAC!
The Used Car Guy